By Kyi Zin Hnin
Seeing the deep red petals of the gold mohur (sein bann) flowers beautifully blanketing on the grounds during the early monsoon season, my memory rushes back to and lingers on the Shwe Nat Taung High School (Mawlamyaing), where the author had the short opportunity to enjoy schooling in white and green school uniforms.
Those were memorable days, when there were no paid tuitions. All the students had to do was to regularly attend the normal school hours during which the teachers poured their hearts out in teaching us with all kindness.
Not only taught from the prescribed syllabus from our text books, we underwent a methodical and systematic educational system that left us equipped with a solid foundation of what the school had to offer. Therefore, we were sailing with ease and comfort in our further studies at respective universities and higher education.
Educational talks, extempore competitions, and debates, together with funfairs, were held in conjunction with special celebrations at Shwe Nat Taung High School, and they were participated by students with much delight and fun. Such kinds of experience was a motivation for students, making them ready for futures tasks and activities coming along the way in their lives.
As a young girl student from grade five, I had my first taste of listening to an educational talk on the events surrounding Arzani Day (Martyrs’ Day), the title of the talk being, ‘Unforgettable Arzarni Day’. Gratitude is due to my parents and grandparents who talked to us about Arzani Day, Arzani leaders and background events, during our bedtime. Moreover, I have had the privilege of reading in-depth on these subjects. Therefore, I knew in detail what Arzarni
Day was all about, and I have the full confidence and courage to talk about it at any place or at any time.
Another memorable and happy day for me in my life was when I was attending my first year university, I was awarded the first prize for university-level article writing competition for Arzarni Day.
According to Myanmar dictionary, ‘martyr’ is defined as (1) a person who knows whether their sacrifice was for a cause or not; (2) a person with higher physical and mental level and who is daring enough to give one’s life for other people. [Generally, Martyrs’ Day is an annual day observed by nations to salute the martyrdom of soldiers who lost their lives defending the sovereignty of the nation.]
In the past, Myanmar was under colonial rule for 124 years, and all national races fought against the colonialists and imperialists for many decades to regain the independence.
In history, a colony is a territory under the immediate complete political control of a state, distinct from the home territory of the sovereign. For colonies in antiquity, city-states would often found their own colonies.
Indonesia was under Dutch colony for 350 years. Angola was under Portugal colony, since the 16th century.
In the past, a colony is a group of people who settled in a new place but kept ties to their homeland. The people who founded the United States first came to America to live as part of a British colony. The word ‘colony’ comes from the Latin ‘colonia’, meaning ‘settled land, farm.’
The colonialists used the term ‘3 M’ in their colonization campaigns. The ways and means were as follows:
(1) Missionary: They influenced with missionary persuasion over natives who had no religious faith in the past.
(2) Merchandize: In the newly found territories, the colonialists bought the resources cheap and established their trading business and settled down there.
(3) Military: A weak country having only fragile forces was attacked and the land annexed and colonized.
Myanmar was under colonial rule and being subjugated. Therefore, the national races fought against the colonialists with all possible means, including the peasants’ revolt and the workers’ revolt.
There were many revolts and revolutions, and out of them the secret military training of the
Thirty Comrades was the most remarkable and noteworthy.
During my student days, I have read only short sentences saying that the Thirty Comrades have had acquired the military warfare training in ‘a very hard and tough way.’ It was mentioned in only a few words.
In this modern time of information technology, we have now the opportunity to learn in many ways. Then, I came to understand the meaning of ‘a very hard and tough way,’ which can be interpreted as that of hard and tough, that of being tortured or in ill health, that of risk and sacrifice, that of painfulness and agony. These interpretations shocked me greatly.
During the military training, there were unimaginable suffering of pain and agony. In the past, I was just reading without taking in the real meaning, but later my outlook has changed into becoming more patriotic, after I came to know about the Thirty Comrades. At that time the entire people had the aspiration and desire for independence.
While struggling and fighting for independence, Bogyoke and Arzarni leaders were gunned down. However, the nation has regained independence, and the people have been liberated.
I have now the highest impression on our Arzarni leaders.
Ironically, some people only understand that this day is another public holiday, and they do not understand the real in-depth meaning of Arzarni Day or why it was termed as the Arzarni Day. Some do not even know the names of the fallen leaders.
Renowned historian Dr. (U) Than Tun once wrote that we all are studying history because we do not want to remain inexperienced and naïve. If we just remain in the cycle of past events, we would never be able to move forward.
Now we are witnessing modern structures, such as that of eight-layer highway roads in Kunming in Yunnan Province, China, or that of sky trains, double highways and triple highways, and world-class hospitals in neighboring Thailand, or Singapore becoming from scratch structure of a fishing village into the world’s top ranking nation. If we want to move towards prosperity and wealth, we should have similar aspiration and goals.
We have regained our independence, now for 70 years. If we count from the day when Bogyoke was assassinated, it is now 71 years.
What have we achieved so far?
We have to uphold our national interest.
Unlike the olden days when the ‘3 M’ method was instrumental, it is now the ‘PPT’ age. PPT stands for:
(1) Pop culture: penetration of music and alien culture.
(2) Popular gadgets and modern conveniences: penetration of modern devices, smart phones, spy cameras, drones, minute but powerful innovations.
(3) Trendy mindset: penetration of foreign styles; inclination to western culture; imitation of Korean style; preference of new culture which might result in the loss of own national identity.
Mostly, we were going in circles in the past with an unending and useless criticism. Count Lyov Nikolayevich Tolstoy, usually known to the English as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time. He wrote,
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
The author would like to take the liberty in giving an example of human weakness. A responsible team has built a concrete drainage along the main road, but even before the concrete drainage was completed, some irresponsible people come and litter and throw all their trash in the drain. Is the drain meant for trash? This is just one example on one’s fault of mindset, among hundreds of gaffes.
We have crossed the line of 71 years with all the blunders which could not be reversed. However, the present period is the most important moment to make a change for a better future.
The author of this article would like to convey the message that Bogyoke Aung San had urged us to change all our former bad characters once and for all. Let us pledge ourselves and vow to work hard in uplifting the image of our people and the prestige of our nation among the nations on this planet.
Translated by UMT (HK)